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Following the Porcupine Caribou

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December 28, 1998 -- It's hard to imagine, but there are people who still live off the land. Among them are several thousand Gwich'in Indians in Alaska, and Canada's Yukon and Northwest Territories.

NPR's Elizabeth Arnold takes an NPR/National Geographic Radio Expedition 70 miles north of the Arctic Circle to the Gwich'in village of Old Crow -- the northernmost settlement in the Yukon Territory. Old Crow is one of a dozen Gwich'in villages scattered along a 300 mile path to the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife refuge. By no coincidence, that path lies along the migration route of a single herd of caribou.

The Gwich'in depend on the caribou. The caribou depend on the coastal plain's rich vegetation to help their newborn calves survive the their first months of life in this Arctic climate. But below the plain lies the most promising oil prospect in North America. Elizabeth Arnold on the Porcupine River The Gwich'in worry that unless its permanently protected, the herd and their way of life is under threat.

Join Elizabeth Arnold as she visits with the people of Old Crow, travels down the Porcupine River to see the caribou, and talks with an official of Canada's Wildlife Service to report on how the Gwich'in are dealing with this threat to their culture.

The Village of Old Crow The Village of Old Crow

Elizabeth Arnold on the Porcupine River Elizabeth Arnold on the Porcupine River

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